Author Blogging, Yea or Nay?
Should you create an Author Blog? There is a substantial group of writers who either think they are ‘above’ blogging or that they should spend all of their time writing their main projects. On the opposite side, there’s the group who thinks any time spent writing is a step forward and that having a blog could further their writing careers. What is so special about a blog that even authors of high-brow fiction should consider it?
Speaking from experience, some people’s minds can only handle so much creativity in a day. The limit varies for different people, but I think everyone gets drained after a certain number of hours of dedicated concentration, regardless of the task. The type of writing in a typical blog is probably not going to be as intense as writing a work of fiction. A lot of people spend hours agonizing over every post, and others just go for it as though writing in a diary. It’s usually the latter that ends up conveying more emotion and relating more to the readers of their blog. I find writing a more conversational blog post cathartic after a long writing session. It’s nice to see the words flow after I might have been agonizing over a particular section in one of my novels.
Compare writing to driving a car. It takes a certain number of miles to break in a car so that it runs more smoothly. In the same way, it takes a certain amount of words being typed into your keyboard to smooth out your writing. You can spend all of that time driving on a two-lane highway where you’re more conscientious of your lane, or you could hop on the freeway and get to your destination as quickly and smoothly as possible. I think having an author blog is a great way to hone in on your voice. If you want to really get into it, you could write your blog posts from the perspective of one of your characters. This might help you flesh out something you’ve been stuck on in your writing.
Having an author blog is a great way to interact with people who might like your work. Readers can sample your writing and you could put links to all of your work. After years of having an author website as well as an author blog, I’ve finally combined them into this WordPress site to keep things simpler for myself. If you’re just starting out, instead of even getting a website you could start a blogger or wordpress.com author blog for free. If the blog takes off or you find yourself in a better financial situation, you can always transfer those posts to your own domain using wordpress.org or other options.
Some readers are content with reading a book and knowing nothing about the author. I would bet they are the minority. Having an author blog is a great way to humanize yourself and show that you are, indeed, a real person. Come up with a good biography page and write posts from the heart and you could go far. Books aren’t written by robots yet, so it’s always important to be able to connect with your audience.
So, should you create an author blog? If you think you can write a post about this length every week or at least once or twice a month, then in my opinion you should. However, if you can’t write a couple of posts a month it might look like people have a dead site on their hands. People like going to a website and seeing new material. You wouldn’t go see a comedian give the same act over and over again, so what incentive do your readers have to return to your site? To help with Search Engine Optimization so people can find you in google, your posts should be at least 300 words. That’s just over a page. If you’re a serious writer, that isn’t very much, especially if you aren’t trying to world-build or remember character back-stories. Best to give it the old college try.
Here’s some examples of authors who have done it right.